Right now I am blogging from a beautiful hacienda in the Andes mountains sitting in a lodge near a big fire. It is so peaceful and beautiful here. I absolutely love it! We are all staying in cabins and we have huge rooms and they are connected by a big wraparound porch. today has been absolutely amazing! every day here gets more exciting and interesting! today we went to a rose plantation and saw how the roses are cultivated and wrapped to be shipped to other countries, and we all got roses to keep. then we went to a huge hacienda that is 350 years old! there was a gorgeous garden out back and a chapel. we got hot chocolate and then an awesome band called Cotopaxi (which is the name of a volcano that we drove past..its covered by a glacier that´s melting) played music for us. Lisa started dancing and then we all joined in dancing in a circle it was so fun! then we saw a room upstairs and it has the same furniture and set up that it did 350 years ago! it was so interesting.
We stopped for ice cream on a stick at a little roadside ice cream shop and i got guanabana flavor which is a type of fruit here. then we went to these amazing indigenous people’s house in Salasacas. Their names were Francisco and Anita, and they are completely self-sufficient! they grow all their own food and weave using wool from their own sheep. they made us lunch and it was so good! we had vegetables, potatoes with ahi which is a kind of spicy sauce, and choclo which looks like corn on the cob but you eat it one kernel at a time, and beans and tea. then we went outside and saw cacti in the garden and there’s these bugs that live in the cacti that leave a trail of blood that they use for red dye to dye the wool red for their weaving. they put the bugs in our hands and we had to squish them and ah i was freaking out because i hate insects and blood! But i closed my eyes and squished it and the bug’s red blood was all over my hands. then they squeezed an orange on it and turned it orange. it was so cool! some girls put it on their lips because it can be used as makeup haha. then we watched them weave and watched anita spin the wool to clean it and get good thread. i tried it, but i was super bad at it, but she learned when she was 10 so she has had years of practice. then they played andean music for us outside and one man had a huge drum and a flute, and then three other guys danced behind him and one guy had bells tied around his knees. then we got to dance and i danced with the bells on my knee. it was really fun.
then we drove on some crazy mountain roads that had a really steep drop off to the side, but our bus driver is awesome so we were fine. the driving here is pretty crazy though there are pretty much no rules. cars were flying past us on this mountain road! it was insane. then we arrived at our beautiful hacienda and had a welcome dinner which was so good. it was really fancy with flowers and candles on the table and we had jugo de pina( pineapple juice), potato soup with avocado and cheese cubes, chicken with mushrooms, rice and vegetables. for dessert we had chocolate pudding with a pirouette.
our hacienda is kind of close to the volcano tungarahua which just exploded 2 weeks ago and we can hear it rumbling!! the name in kichwa means tongue of the fire. its totally safe though. we went on a hike in the dark to go see if we could see any lava from far away, but we couldnt. its just absolutely beautiful here though. tomorrow we leave for cuenca and we’re meeting our host families!! we have an 8 hour bus drive ahead of us, but i’m so excited to get there!
con amor de Patate, Ecuador,